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Are you facing the decision of whether your young child should repeat their school grade? The goal of repeating a grade is to give a student extra time to grow, mature, and master grade level skills that were missed the first time around. Over the years parents, teachers, and school boards have s...

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To Repeat a Grade or Not to Repeat…That is the Question!

Posted by: Connie McCarthy on May 12, 2011 in School Success, Kids Learning, Elementary School, Connie McCarthy


Connie McCarthy
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BoyAre you facing the decision of whether your young child should repeat their school grade?

The goal of repeating a grade is to give a student extra time to grow, mature, and master grade level skills that were missed the first time around.

Over the years parents, teachers, and school boards have struggled with the promotion/retention issue. As a teacher, my personal experience with retaining students in first grade came before our state changed its Kindergarten entry date.

When I first started teaching, a young child could enter Kindergarten if they turned five by December 31, of that same year. This meant that many children entered school in September at age four. (The law has since been changed to a September first deadline.)

These younger students were at a distinct disadvantage. Developmentally, many of these four year old students were not physically and mentally ready for the academic challenges. Many of their classmates were almost a year older, and that made a huge difference at such a young age.

This is where I saw a positive response to retention. Students given a "gift of time" to mature and develop their skills became the class stars the next year. They grew in confidence, as well as in academics.

I have not had to recommend retention for any of my First Graders during the past few years. I have seen a decline in retention throughout our school system. It appears that starting school later has helped students meet district requirements.

However, if there is a maturity or achievement issue I still feel that retention is a good option in the early primary grades.

Repeating a grade is a highly complex and emotional issue for educators and parents alike.

Can retaining a child ultimately propel them ahead? What’s your opinion?

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